In fact, according to Gus Kakavas, the Promotions Chairman for Saint Barbara's Church, the majority of attendees are not of Greek heritage. The annual fall festival also continues to grow, he said.
"As you know, the Greek community is only a small part of the attendees at the Greek Festival. Our first Saint Barbara Greek Festival was held in September of 1973 — 39 years ago," he said in an email.
With nearly four decades of Greek Festivals at the church, over the years the event has expanded the number of attendees it draws to its expanding offerings of food, entertainment and vendors, Kakavas said.
"Since then it has grown progressively in both scope and volume of visitors. We expect over 10,000 visitors to this year's festival and it will go on rain or shine," he said. "This year’s will be biggest and best ever with new Greek menu, dancing, music, our famous Greek Pastries and 'must see' performances by the award winning GOYA Dance troop."
In addition to the popular food offerings, so many of which are made by church members, the Greek dancers are often the draw of the event, with a strong audience to watch the elaborate costumes and choreography.
If you are planning on going, the schedule this year is noon to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21; noon to midnight Saturday Sept. 22; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23.
Consider yourself lucky if you can get parking on church grounds, at 2200 Church Road, because overflow parking is often needed to accommodate the large number of visitors.
Over-flow parking will be at Ocean County College Lot #2 with a shuttle bus to the church running continuously.
The line-up of activities:
• traditional Greek entrées in the “Athenian Atrium”
• Greek fast food favorites (gyros, suvlaki/shish-ka-bob) under the Big Top tent
• Taverna Bar with our Celebrity Bartenders. Dance to
• international-style Disc Jockey music along with Live Bands everyday,
who will be playing non-stop Greek favorites.
• Euro-style street vendor shopping, boardwalk-style games, kids rides outside.
For more information on the festival, call the church office at 732-255-5525 or visit www.stbarbaranj.org.